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■ Text Paul Sim­mons on 027 9752640.

■ War­riors for the Bird­song of the For­est wants to use non-toxic meth­ods to kill pests. THE DE­TAILS

Among the ar­eas where preda­tor con­trol will be done is a few thou­sand hectares of Wha¯ nau o Tauwhao land in the Paraki­wai Kainga. Rick Taikato says the area in Paraki­wai Quarry Rd is al­ready a refuge for many bird species. “The bird life is dom­i­nant — it’s be­com­ing a lit­tle haven. If you can do [preda­tor con­trol] in the most hu­mane way that you can do it, that trick­les down to the water life and qual­ity of life in the water, which then trick­les down to the sea.”

Be­yond just fo­cus­ing on one crea­ture or the po­ten­tial for in­dus­try, Rick says for him it is about peo­ple work­ing to­gether in the right way and achiev­ing a big­ger goal.

His an­ces­tors are from Tuhua (Mayor Is­land) and would come to Whanga­mata¯ as a place to gather their food and medicines.

“A cer­tain bird that was plen­ti­ful back here, we used to find it and eat that. To­day it’s not there.

“We also had medic­i­nal plants that don’t get their right­ful nu­tri­ents to ex­pand, so a lot of our ron­goa [Ma¯ ori medicine] that used to be picked and taken back to the is­land aren’t here.

“It’s not just about the an­i­mals and 1080. It’s about the big­ger pic­ture. I’ve told my kids to get their head in a book and read, but I’ve also showed them the old ways with food sources. Try­ing to get a kid to af­ford some­thing and on a main­stream in­come when pos­sum hunt­ing is sea­sonal. You’ve got to teach them not just about hunt­ing pos­sums but the big pic­ture of why we’re get­ting rid of this pest.”

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